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  #5521  
Old 12-10-12, 05:01
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Uh oh. Kristof will never write for the Times again.

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This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.
And tell me, where have you read this before?

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But for me, a tentative lesson from the field is that while we need safety nets, the focus should be instead on creating opportunity — and, still more difficult, on creating an environment that leads people to seize opportunities.
Holy ****.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/op...=0&ref=opinion
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  #5522  
Old 12-10-12, 11:09
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Do workers have any responsibility to bring skills and value to an employer? Or is the simple fact that people consume oxygen enough to be provided a job?



Lots of people have success as they define it. Being a success in most developed economy's is absolutely possible for the vast majority.
Yes, people absolutely have that responsibility. It needn't be a Darwinian argument to point out that without progressive societies' domination of nature, many would not survive in their present state if left to fend for themselves.

But, to bring back rhubroma's point, (and one that you rarely entertain) it should also be the responsibility of employers to create businesses that do more than generate profit, deplete resources and create unaccountable waste strictly for the sake of being "successful".

Which leads to your second point: no doubt people don't need to be publicly exemplary in order to be considered successful--by themselves or others--but if you think the bar of human dignity is set low by rhubroma's standards, it seems that you offer an equally paltry bar of success. Most measure it by self subsistence. Why should that be?
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  #5523  
Old 12-10-12, 14:20
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Originally Posted by blutto View Post
...would be interested in your thoughts on the following article and ideas it is focused on...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/...ity-economics/

...a fairly representative paragraph from same is below...
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Today’s supply and demand approach treats the economy as a “market” in a crudely abstract way, as quantities of goods (already produced), labor (with a given productivity) and capital (already accumulated, no questions asked) are swapped and bartered with each other. This approach does not inquire deeply into how some people get the capital to “swap” for “labor.” To top matters, this approach gets the direction of technological growth and basic business experience wrong, by assuming conditions of diminishing returns and diminishing marginal utility. The intellectual result is a parallel universe, whose criterion for economic excellence is merely the internal constituency of its abstract assumptions, not their realism.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Cheers

blutto
At a glance, it seems reasonable, if a bit heavy-handed and instrumentalizing (mostly unreconstructed Marxism) in its description of the methods and fictions by which inequalities are maintained.

What I think it overlooks (the book, but also the review) are all of the subtle and minor psychologies and rationalizations that have (probably since the Reformation) helped to transform labor into work into occupation, etc., to normalize that trajectory and make it desirable--if not the primary objective--for a vast majority of people.

That sort of internal conditioning--disciplinary constraints and subjective control--raises the question of how catastrophic or implosive the current economic regimes will prove to be. Right? Wasn't that the belief of many of the left or anti-capital perspective in 2008? That finally there would the reckoning. We've seen how that worked out. Even the most strident critics of five, six years ago have already forgotten how, for example, Obama completely sold them out. Or simply lost the taste for the conflict on those old terms as it had been going on too long. So while the toxicity of the system is mostly inarguable, it's a little hard to take it on the author's terms as that makes it too much of an externally imposed condition--rather than a commonly produced consensus.

Last edited by aphronesis; 12-10-12 at 14:30.
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  #5524  
Old 12-10-12, 14:39
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Yes, people absolutely have that responsibility. It needn't be a Darwinian argument to point out that without progressive societies' domination of nature, many would not survive in their present state if left to fend for themselves.

But, to bring back rhubroma's point, (and one that you rarely entertain) it should also be the responsibility of employers to create businesses that do more than generate profit, deplete resources and create unaccountable waste strictly for the sake of being "successful".

Which leads to your second point: no doubt people don't need to be publicly exemplary in order to be considered successful--by themselves or others--but if you think the bar of human dignity is set low by rhubroma's standards, it seems that you offer an equally paltry bar of success. Most measure it by self subsistence. Why should that be?

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But, to bring back rhubroma's point, (and one that you rarely entertain) it should also be the responsibility of employers to create businesses that do more than generate profit, deplete resources and create unaccountable waste strictly for the sake of being "successful".
I'm not sure who these business' are. Maybe you can name a few for me.

Most organizations attempt to meet some demand. If company's are raping and pillaging, then yeah.

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Which leads to your second point: no doubt people don't need to be publicly exemplary in order to be considered successful--by themselves or others--but if you think the bar of human dignity is set low by rhubroma's standards, it seems that you offer an equally paltry bar of success. Most measure it by self subsistence. Why should that be?
It's going to be different for everyone. It's called self determination. Its not up to employers to set that. In our society there's not too many organizations that get away with slave labor (at least for workers here) so people have choices, even if it is to sit home and collect a govt check.
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  #5525  
Old 12-10-12, 15:03
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...thank you for your comments...

...and just wonderin', are there any developments in the field of economics that you feel are meaningful steps forward from the stuff that has become the common currency when discussing economics today ?....

Cheers

blutto
Of course counterpunch excluded from my above comments.

I don't know: off the top of my head, Christian Marazzi and Giovanni Arrighi would be a couple. Also Boltanski and Chiapello's book from a decade or so ago. Only Marazzi is actually an economist rather than a sociologist--but then that seems to be the sort of cross-pollination that needs to take place.
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  #5526  
Old 12-10-12, 15:08
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I'm not sure who these business' are. Maybe you can name a few for me.

Most organizations attempt to meet some demand. If company's are raping and pillaging, then yeah.



It's going to be different for everyone. It's called self determination. Its not up to employers to set that. In our society there's not too many organizations that get away with slave labor (at least for workers here) so people have choices, even if it is to sit home and collect a govt check.
Uh, chicken farmers, oil industries, anyone clear cutting forests, most Chinese endeavors in Africa, pharmaceutical companies.

It's debatable that just as many companies are started for the benefit of their owners and create demand accordingly. Secondly, even if "demand" exists, that doesn't mean it needs to be met, or that businesses are adding anything to the world by fulfilling them.

Slave labor? See above. Have you ever done any reading on meat production in the US.

Contrary to what you might have come to believe, it's not that easy to just sit home and collect an unemployment check. Let alone welfare.

No, it's not up to employers to set that, but as Chew D and others pointed out to you a few days ago, US legislation and social constraints are overwhelming tailored to meet the demands and economies of least resistance which are ultimately beneficial to large corporations. Not to individuals. Therefore it is not strictly up to individuals to set their own bars--people aren't born a blank slate with the world as their oyster.

Last edited by aphronesis; 12-10-12 at 15:20.
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  #5527  
Old 12-10-12, 15:33
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Business isn't static. Employees get paid even when business' lose money. Business rarely has the same profitability year over year. Business has to plan for multitudes of scenarios, conditions and eventualities. Business has to invest in growth, equipment, etc. Most business has to be very mindful of expenses an labor is one of the closest watched. That's the real world.
Firstly I must quote aphronesis to exemplify what I meant by what’s at the basis of what can be construed as "ethical business," rather than that which is not:

But, to bring back rhubroma's point, (and one that you rarely entertain) it should also be the responsibility of employers to create businesses that do more than generate profit, deplete resources and create unaccountable waste strictly for the sake of being "successful".

I mentioned the appalling exploitation of the African rare metal resources by US multinationals in the high tech industry. The consequences for some of the peoples of the African states affected by this ugly form of capitalism, under the bloody puppet-dictators the same multinationals have set-up have been, in some cases, literally Hiltlerian. My point thus was legislating against such a business model, but because all the market determinants prohibit that, we live in the type of unjust world we do. Within a totally different context, Wal-Mart partakes of the same logic of this business model, which means maximize profit and minimize costs. When this gets too far skewed to the former at the expense of the later, again we run into a case of exploitation. Here is where I think, however, politics and legislation have its real place and need to come in on the side of society, because, left alone (and they are being left on their own), lions will feed upon lambs. So what we actually have is a predatory economy. Other than the business scenarios you recommend. I therefore stand by my analysis: Wal-Mart is the worst kind of low-cost retail model.


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Getting rich is a motivating factor for some. I don't think there is much depth to that motivation, but free people can pursue that if they wish.

Keep defining a dignified life for me. And what responsibility does the individual have to obtain a salary that would allow a dignified life?
My question is what responsibility do employees have to their workforce? In the direction that neoliberalism and concervativism would like to take civilization, which again is anti-progressive, we revert back to an Oliver Twist scenario in no time. In many places around the globe, this is already the case.

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Because that's not how human beings are hard wired. It's like asking why can't Contador just be happy riding around as a domestique.
Again it isn't about how humans are "hard wired" - I mean we say we have progressed Scott since mors tua vita mea was associated with virtus, precisely because of those enlightenment philosophies that became the foundation of the modern civic rationality of democracy (irrespective of if this has actually been produced) - but the types of political choices to regulate the lions and lambs. It seems to me that the later has been forced to take upon a responsibility that's all out of proportion to their force. By contrast the former has been literally unleashed.



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And this just leads us back to the start. In my view, the best the government can do is provide a framework to maximize equal opportunity.

Don't get enamored with equal outcomes.
But the governments and the financialists driving policy aren't doing this. By contrast the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged has grown out of proportion to economic growth. Equal outcomes is a personal based concept. I was referring to what the state can do in terms of egalitarian legislation to prevent the type of evident exploitation our doped economic model has fostered. At a certain point the boiling pot explodes, however. Now there are ways for this unpleasantry to be averted: but your conservative, hard-core business ideals are not among them.

Last edited by rhubroma; 12-10-12 at 15:40.
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  #5528  
Old 12-10-12, 16:54
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Uh, chicken farmers, oil industries, anyone clear cutting forests, most Chinese endeavors in Africa, pharmaceutical companies.

It's debatable that just as many companies are started for the benefit of their owners and create demand accordingly. Secondly, even if "demand" exists, that doesn't mean it needs to be met, or that businesses are adding anything to the world by fulfilling them.

Slave labor? See above. Have you ever done any reading on meat production in the US.

Contrary to what you might have come to believe, it's not that easy to just sit home and collect an unemployment check. Let alone welfare.

No, it's not up to employers to set that, but as Chew D and others pointed out to you a few days ago, US legislation and social constraints are overwhelming tailored to meet the demands and economies of least resistance which are ultimately beneficial to large corporations. Not to individuals. Therefore it is not strictly up to individuals to set their own bars--people aren't born a blank slate with the world as their oyster.
Chicken farmers in the US? Where is clear cutting going happening on any scale in the US? I realize crazy **** happens in Africa and in under developed parts of the world... only you and Rhub are discussing it. I'm talking in the context of developed economies.

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It's debatable that just as many companies are started for the benefit of their owners and create demand accordingly.
Really? Name some.

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Secondly, even if "demand" exists, that doesn't mean it needs to be met, or that businesses are adding anything to the world by fulfilling them.
Yeah, well I'm trying to keep the discussion within what's legal. There's a demand for human slavery so your point is self evident.

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No, it's not up to employers to set that, but as Chew D and others pointed out to you a few days ago, US legislation and social constraints are overwhelming tailored to meet the demands and economies of least resistance which are ultimately beneficial to large corporations. Not to individuals.
And large corporation don't employ everyone. More people work for companies with less than 500 employees than with more.

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Therefore it is not strictly up to individuals to set their own bars--people aren't born a blank slate with the world as their oyster.
Strictly? No. But ultimately, in our system, the individual bears the brunt of determining their own path. Nobody makes anybody work at walmart.
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  #5529  
Old 12-10-12, 17:01
aphronesis aphronesis is offline
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Originally Posted by Scott SoCal View Post



Really? Name some.





And large corporation don't employ everyone. More people work for companies with less than 500 employees than with more.


Say 90% of food producers in the country, purveyors of bottled water, most clothing lines, 60% of electronic products available to consumers, the vast majority of daily medical products, the majority of home products which are not furniture and cooking supplies, etc. While, we're here: all manner of sports drinks and food, the majority of crap manufactured related to cycling.

You've been saying that about employee numbers for days, but you keep missing the point. First, it's not about where people work, but how the business environment and economy are structured, which, overwhelmingly, is geared to the benefit and on the model of large businesses. Secondly, if you factored in subcontracting and the sheltered effects of deregulation, I suspect your numbers would go down substantially.

If Rhubroma and I are talking about Africa, etc. it's because your developed economies ride on the backs of those places. It's called primitive accumulation and it's how capital reproduces itself.

Last edited by aphronesis; 12-10-12 at 17:13.
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  #5530  
Old 12-10-12, 17:16
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Originally Posted by rhubroma View Post
Firstly I must quote aphronesis to exemplify what I meant by what’s at the basis of what can be construed as "ethical business," rather than that which is not:

But, to bring back rhubroma's point, (and one that you rarely entertain) it should also be the responsibility of employers to create businesses that do more than generate profit, deplete resources and create unaccountable waste strictly for the sake of being "successful".

I mentioned the appalling exploitation of the African rare metal resources by US multinationals in the high tech industry. The consequences for some of the peoples of the African states affected by this ugly form of capitalism, under the bloody puppet-dictators the same multinationals have set-up have been, in some cases, literally Hiltlerian. My point thus was legislating against such a business model, but because all the market determinants prohibit that, we live in the type of unjust world we do. Within a totally different context, Wal-Mart partakes of the same logic of this business model, which means maximize profit and minimize costs. When this gets too far skewed to the former at the expense of the later, again we run into a case of exploitation. Here is where I think, however, politics and legislation have its real place and need to come in on the side of society, because, left alone (and they are being left on their own), lions will feed upon lambs. So what we actually have is a predatory economy. Other than the business scenarios you recommend. I therefore stand by my analysis: Wal-Mart is the worst kind of low-cost retail model.




My question is what responsibility do employees have to their workforce? In the direction that neoliberalism and concervativism would like to take civilization, which again is anti-progressive, we revert back to an Oliver Twist scenario in no time. In many places around the globe, this is already the case.



Again it isn't about how humans are "hard wired" - I mean we say we have progressed Scott since mors tua vita mea was associated with virtus, precisely because of those enlightenment philosophies that became the foundation of the modern civic rationality of democracy (irrespective of if this has actually been produced) - but the types of political choices to regulate the lions and lambs. It seems to me that the later has been forced to take upon a responsibility that's all out of proportion to their force. By contrast the former has been literally unleashed.





But the governments and the financialists driving policy aren't doing this. By contrast the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged has grown out of proportion to economic growth. Equal outcomes is a personal based concept. I was referring to what the state can do in terms of egalitarian legislation to prevent the type of evident exploitation our doped economic model has fostered. At a certain point the boiling pot explodes, however. Now there are ways for this unpleasantry to be averted: but your conservative, hard-core business ideals are not among them.
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Here is where I think, however, politics and legislation have its real place and need to come in on the side of society, because, left alone (and they are being left on their own), lions will feed upon lambs.
And in most developed economies this is exactly what you have.

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Wal-Mart is the worst kind of low-cost retail model.
If they are breaking laws nationally or internationally then they need to be held to account. Other than that, their model is consumer driven. If you want to blame somebody, blame their customers.

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Again it isn't about how humans are "hard wired" - I mean we say we have progressed Scott since mors tua vita mea was associated with virtus, precisely because of those enlightenment philosophies that became the foundation of the modern civic rationality of democracy (irrespective of if this has actually been produced) - but the types of political choices to regulate the lions and lambs. It seems to me that the later has been forced to take upon a responsibility that's all out of proportion to their force. By contrast the former has been literally unleashed.

I get that this is your perception. While undoubtedly true in some cases my perception is this is the exception, not the rule.

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But the governments and the financialists driving policy aren't doing this. By contrast the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged has grown out of proportion to economic growth.
Compared to when and when? Tell me a time when this wasn't true?

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At a certain point the boiling pot explodes,
Particularly when one group is pitted against another... like we see now.

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Now there are ways for this unpleasantry to be averted: but your conservative, hard-core business ideals are not among them.
Well, the fact remains. In the absence of hard core business ideals there is no such thing as functioning government (for very long anyways).
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